It’s fun, you will never know ’til you try!
Many people get the wrong idea about what belly dancing is and who should participate in it. There are many myths and untruths surrounding the art of belly dancing, which convinces many people to avoid trying out belly dance. The truth is that anyone can have a good experience with belly dancing.
Some people assume that belly dancing is a burlesque dance; a stripper-type dance meant for seduction. This myth probably exists because Western culture and the media have perpetuated this stereotype. However, it simply isn’t the case.
Belly dance is a traditional folk dance with a long history throughout countries of the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey and performed primarily by women and girls when they and their families gathered together. Today, belly dancing is a dance form that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Sometimes called Oriental dance, the belly dance is a source of enjoyment, of entertainment, and sometimes used as a routine for exercise. In spite of its occasional reputation as such, belly dancing is not related to stripping or seduction, certainly not in its purest form, the way we consider it here.
Another myth that circulates about belly dancing is that you must have a flat stomach or a killer body in order to participate in belly dancing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Women of all body types enjoy belly dancing. And not all belly dance costumes reveal the midriff section. There are more modest costumes that cover more of the body for those who aren’t comfortable revealing too much.
At the same time, belly dancing doesn’t have to take place on a stage or in a performance at a restaurant. It can also be done just for fun, in a class or by yourself; no one needs to see you dance at all. And for those who are looking to improve the shape of their body, belly dancing is a good way to exercise and get in shape. There is no specific body shape that is required to do belly dancing.
Some people feel that belly dancing seems too hard for the average person to figure out, but the fact is, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Belly dancing involves movements that are natural to the female body. The moves are flowing and gentle. The coordination and grace that so many belly dancers exhibit was learned as they practiced belly dancing. Anyone can learn the moves and gain new coordination as they dance. It just takes practice.
Some women feel that because they aren’t young, that belly dancing is not for them. The reality is that women of all ages enjoy belly dancing. It can be an empowering dance form that can boost self-esteem and provide many physical benefits. There is no age limit or reason that a woman of any age can’t belly dance.
Belly dancing is a beautiful art form and a relaxing way to get exercise and enjoy movement and music. Belly dance is not a dance of seduction, and it can be done by anyone of any size or shape. Many of the myths and beliefs about belly dancing simply aren’t true, and they prevent people from trying out and enjoying a wonderful dance. You might check out our brief discussion on Choosing Belly Dance Music, elsewhere on this site.